New Top Paint

Feel like your home is looking a little drab? It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do! Consumer Reports finds that when it comes to choosing paint, it goes way beyond color!

Gail Nielson is back at her local hardware store looking at paints for her living room, after having a great experience repainting her bedroom.

Nielson says, "It looks like the room's brand new, a different room."

A new color can be an inexpensive way to get a whole new look, say the experts at Consumer Reports. They recently evaluated 65 paints. But tester Rico De Paz says steer clear of economy paint.

De Paz says, "A good price is a good thing, but stay away from really inexpensive paints. None of our top picks were under 20 dollars."

But you don't need to spend top dollar either. In fact, Benjamin Moore-which cost as much as 68 dollars a gallon-did well but was not top-rated in Consumer Reports' latest tests.

The highest scores went to paints that cost half that. It's a new brand called Clark and Kensington, and these paints are sold at Ace Hardware stores. They go for around 33 dollars a gallon.

De Paz says, "It topped our ratings in the satin finish, that's durable and best for most applications, and in the semi-gloss, that's great for trim. It was also among the best in the flat finish that tends to hide surface imperfections better than others."

These Clark and Kensington paints left a smooth finish that resisted stains and stood up to scouring, even after 1,000 passes with a stiff scrub brush.

Plus the Clark and Kensington paints are superb at hiding, which means you can easily cover the old paint you're tired of looking at.

De Paz says, "It's also self-priming, so you can save some time and money by not having to apply a primer coat when you paint over bare wood or wallboard."

And the fact that Gail Nielson could get paint at the local Ace store made the job that much easier, too.

If you shop at Home Depot or Lowe's, Consumer Reports says paints available at these stores did really well in tests, too.

At Home Depot, several paints by Behr are recommended in all sheens-including Behr Premium Plus Ultra Enamel, which sells for just over 30 dollars a gallon-and the Glidden Premium, for about 25 dollars a gallon.

Prefer Lowe's? Consumer Reports recommends Valspar Signature paints in all three finished, for around 33 dollars a gallon.

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